01/04/2015 - Skills Recongition for SES Volunteers

SES Skills Recognition - Discussion Item
By Phillip Petersen ESM
SES Volunteer
SESVA Representative

National Competency Option
For some time now, I have been advocating SES skills recognition based on National Competency for Public safety (SES).   It is also the same system that career firepersons use as skill indicators Firefighter, one chevron (Certificate II)and senior firefighter, two chevrons (Certificate III) and a senior firefighter with 15 years service,  a third chevron in red.  This is based on National Competencies, hence an equivalences of respective service skills.  National skills achievement was “sold” to volunteer as transferable industry skills and I have heard of this been successful in a number of SES Volunteers work lives.
 
DFES Skills agency based Competency Option

DFES Training Branch is offering a skills recognitions system that is not National Competency based, rather to DFES or “agency” standards. DFES claim, that in the pursuit for excellence, that their competency standards may exceed National Competency as National Competency is below DFES expectations and other emergency service agencies, such as the Police, are doing the same.
 
DFES is also keen to bypass National Competency due to the overheads that the beauocracy of the system that the government agency imposes onto Register Training organizations (RTO’s) and also onto some competencies. Certainly, the imposition onto National Competency Certificate IV Trainers and Assessors in the past few years, has been nothing but a buggery by that government body.

DFES Training are offering SES Volunteers skills recognition in 3 basic core areas:

  1. Search (based on a pathway/set of competencies, still to be determined);
  2. Rescue (based on a pathway/set of competencies, still to be determined);
  3. Operations/Communications (based on a pathway/set of competencies, still to be determined).

Similar to the Pathways Training being proposed by  DFES WA Fire and Emergency Services Academy, the skills recognition will not identify all SES skills, just the basic ones.

Summary
No system identifies specific skills especially leadership skills, although career firefighters do use the firefighter/senior firefighter as a form of rank and payscale.
Remember, the current appointment indicators used in SES only indicate position in a Local Unit and are not based on skills.  The future training currently proposed by DFES Academy is to conduct agency based skills recognition courses, with the ability for SES Volunteers to choose to do follow up work if required to achieve National Competency. However as DFES Academy has failed to produce any valid training packages in past few years for State Emergency Service, so there is no indications, that this is just not another train of talk and no action from the DFES Academy.

The SESVA needs SES Volunteer feedback on this subject. I know it is an essential part of SES, as creditable training is important and consumes most of a Volunteers SES time. A Volunteers time is just as important and valuable as it is to any career staff.  This discussion is based on the five minute presentation given in one of the SES session at 2014 DFES Volunteers Conference. I apologise for taking so long to put this where it can generate discussion amongst volunteers.  Sometimes I wonder, if I had put as much energy that I have put into my Volunteering into my work career, then I too would be too busy to volunteer and I might drive a fancy corporate car and filled with my own self importance.

Please send your comments to: sescomment@gmail.com

Attached are some images which need to be considered with this discussion.